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Literature

Yongbieocheonga: The work eulogizes the virtue of the ancestors for the House of Yi, the founding family of the Joseon Dynasty, likening them to a deep rooted tree and a spring of deep waters
Yongbieocheonga: The work eulogizes the virtue of the ancestors for the House of Yi, the founding family of the Joseon Dynasty, likening them to a deep rooted tree and a spring of deep waters
Korean literature is usually divided chronologically into classical and modern periods. Korea's classical literature developed against the backdrop of traditional folk beliefs. It was also influenced by Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Among these, Buddhist influence held the greatest sway, followed by enormous influences from Confucianism during the Joseon period.

Modern literature in Korea, on the other hand, developed out of its contact with Western culture, following the course of modernization. Not only Christian thought, but also various artistic trends and influences were imported from the West. As the “New Education” and the “National Language and Literature Movement” developed, the Chinese writing system, which had traditionally represented the culture of the dominant class, lost the socio-cultural function it had previously enjoyed.

The hyangga poetry of the Silla period signaled the beginning of a unique poetic form in Korean literature. The hyangga were recorded in the hyangchal script the in which the Korean language was written using, “sound” (eum) and “meaning” (hun) of Chinese characters. Fourteen poems in the hyangga style from the Silla period have been preserved in the Samgungnyusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms).

The literature of the Goryeo period is marked by an increased use of Chinese letters, the disappearance of hyangga, and the emergence of Goryeogayo (Goryeo songs) which continued to be transmitted as oral literature until the Joseon period.

The creation of Hangeul in the early Joseon period was a key turning point in the history of Korean literature. Akjang (musical scores) were written in the Korean script, such as Yongbieocheonga (Songs of Flying Dragons Through the Heavens).

The sijo (current tune) is representative of Joseon period poetry. Its poetic form was established in the late Goryeo period, but it flourished to a greater extent under the Joseon period's new leading ideology, the Neo-Confucianism of China's Song Dynasty. Another form of Joseon-period poetry, the gasa is properly placed in the category of verse, but its content is not limited to the expression of individual sentiment. It often includes moral admonitions.

Honggildongjeon [The Story of Hong Gil-dong, the first novel published in Hangeul] is a work of social criticism that scathingly attacked the inequities of Yi society with its discriminatory treatment of illegitimate offspring and its differences based on wealth
Honggildongjeon [The Story of Hong Gil-dong, the first novel published in Hangeul] is a work of social criticism that scathingly attacked the inequities of Yi society with its discriminatory treatment of illegitimate offspring and its differences based on wealth
The first classical fictions in Korea include Kim Si-seup's Geumosinhwa (Tales of Geumo) which was written in Chinese characters and Heo Gyun's Honggildongjeon (Tales of Hong Gil-dong) written in Hangeul.

As time passed, Hangeul was used widely in Korean society, resulting in the growth and development of Korean language and literature studies.

Modern Korean literature was formed against the background of the crumbling feudalistic society of the Joseon Dynasty and the importation of new ideas from the West.

As forms of modern Korean literature, the changga (new type of song) and sinchesi (new poetry) were hailed as new poetic forms.

 
 

  Korean Culture Information  
   Overview

The geography of Korea -- a peninsula jutting out from the world's largest continent -- has contributed greatly to the development of uniquely Korean characteristics. The foundation for the country's culture and arts is the Korean identity: a combination of traits associated with continental and island peoples. Throughout many millennia, Korea has interacted with the predominant continental cultures of Asia despite its peripheral location in the northeast. Remarkably, while accommodating major religions and traditions of other Asian regions, the country …

   UNESCO Treasures in Korea
World Heritage The majestic entrance to Bulguksa Temple UNESCO has recognized the unique value and the distinct character of Korean culture by placing a number of Korean treasures on the World Heritage List. In 1995, UNESCO added to its list Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto, both in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province); Haeinsa Temple Janggyeongpanjeon, the depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks in Gy…
   Fine Arts
Though people started living on the Korean Peninsula in the Paleolithic Age, existing remains indicate that the origin of fine arts dates back to the Neolithic Age (c. 6,000-1,000 B.C.). Rock carvings on a riverside cliff named Ban-gudae in Ulsan on the southeast coast feature vivid descriptions of animals and are noteworthy art from the prehistoric age. The aesthetic sense of this era can also be found in the comb and eggplant pattern on pottery for daily…
   Literature
Yongbieocheonga: The work eulogizes the virtue of the ancestors for the House of Yi, the founding family of the Joseon Dynasty, likening them to a deep rooted tree and a spring of deep waters Korean literature is usually divided chronologically into classical and modern periods. Korea's classical literature developed against the backdrop of traditional folk beliefs. It was also influenced by Taoism, Con…
   Painting
The figures on the walls of Muyongchong [the Tomb of the Dancers] from the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 B.C. - A.D. 668) Although Korean painters showed a certain level of accumulated skills from the time of the Three Kingdoms, most paintings have been lost because they were drawn on paper. As a result, it is only possible to appreciate a limited number of paintings from this age such as the tomb murals. In addition to the Goguryeo mural paintings…
   Music and Dance
Ensemble of national classical music performing Sujecheon [Long Life as Eternal as the Heavens] Music and dance were means of religious worship and this tradition continued through the Three Kingdoms period. More than 30 musical instruments were used during the Three Kingdoms period, and particularly noteworthy was the hyeonhakgeum (black crane zither), which Wang San-ak of Goguryeo created by altering…
   Drama and Movies
Daejanggeum [2003, MBC] Based loosely on a historical figure depicted in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, the show focuses on Jang-geum, Korea's first female royal physician While music and dance play an integral role in all traditional theatrical performances, Korean drama has its origins in prehistoric religious rites. A good example of this classical theatrical form is the masked dance Sandaenori,…
   Museums and Theaters
National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul Grand Park Korea abounds in cultural facilities of all levels and categories where people can enjoy exhibitions and stage performances throughout the year. These places offer an on-the-spot glimpse into the cultural and artistic achievements of Koreans past and present, regarding both traditional and modern trends and tastes. From internationally recognized museum…




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